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Most users ever online was 16 on Thu Jul 23, 2009 7:17 am

Suggestion for Governing Documents

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Suggestion for Governing Documents




I've been following several discussions regarding the Charter, the Treasurer election, proposals to eliminate the Ambassadors group from the Charter, and on and on. Something has been bothering me about the discussions. However, it wasn't until after attending today's Committee meeting for the first time, and after listening to a lengthy debate/discussion regarding the Ad-Hoc Committee to review the current charter, that I realized what's been bothering me. It's the fact that this organization has its Charter and Bylaws combined into one document.

In my opinion, there should be a Charter and separate set of Bylaws. The Charter is the skeleton or framework of the organization. It should be simple in construction. It should list who established the organization and why it was established, and what makes it important. It should include a mission statement. It should describe qualifications for Officers/Committee members as well as set term limits, and responsibilities. I realize that the current Charter already contains this kind of information.

The Charter should be amendable, but not easily. For example, all members should be included in order for changes to take place and there should be something like a 2/3 majority vote for changes to pass.

On the other hand, the Bylaws are like the flesh of the organization....it is the living, breathing component. It should be more complex because it is the instrument that clearly describes how to conduct the organization's business. It should clearly describe how people become members, qualifications and procedures to vote, how to run meetings, accounting procedures, how to remove Committee members who are not performing their duties....the list goes on an on.

The bylaws should be easier to amend and might only require simple majorities, and may or may not require general membership votes, depending on how much power the membership wants to give to the governing body.

After listening to all the discussions, maybe we need a Constitutional convention. But, at the least, I believe members should consider the ideas of separating the Charter and Bylaws. That's just this member's two-cents (L$).
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Suggestion for Governing Documents :: Comments

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Post on Mon Sep 21, 2009 2:08 pm  Keokipele Ansar

Gordon:

An excellent and astute observation! I agree with you wholeheartedly. I also believe that much could be accomplished toward greater clarity and more efficient operations through documentation such as you suggest. Personally I believe that the more Second Pride conducts its operations and "business" along the lines of a RL non-profit, the more it may expect to be respected and supported in its efforts by businesses, individuals and other non-profit organizations with which it becomes associated or with which it hopes to become associated.

Second Pride is currently more than a SL club or group. The founders and subsequent Committee Chairs laid a foundation upon which to build. It is certainly my hope that sturdy construction and expansion will be the result of the currently adopted Ad Hoc Charter Committee's process for review and recommendation to the present Committee, Ambassadors and General Members.

Peace,
Keo

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Post on Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:33 pm  Doc Spad

I wholeheartedly agree with you..... would make the day to day management of the organization more flexible. By separating the two we establish the foundation through the charter and the by-laws become the walls and portals built upon it.
I think the AdHoc committee has a unique opportunity to help the current standing committee, future committees, and provide all that have served in the past (The Ambassadors), a reason to celebrate a functional, comprehensive governing document that should serve our community well now and well into the future.

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Post on Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:20 am  Capabilitytodd Elswit

really this is a very refreshing idea and i believe if this had been thought of before would have gone along way to have eased the discussions and worries of the past month.
As to framing ourselves closer to a RL non profit: We have been very lucky so far that (from what I know) the funds, Pride and manner of the business at hand has been handled with honesty and integrity. By all parties. But as we raise more and more serious amounts of RL money for charities we hold dear it behoves us to be thoughtful and proffessional in how we handle operations.
We don't need to reinvent the wheel here in SL there are rules and frameworks for non profits example enough all over the world that we could apply here and now to save us growing pains in the future.
Very very good ideas.

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:06 am  Jordyn Carnell

Gordon, you have the structure dead right.

Every formally structured organization has (essentially) that structural idea. Core skeleton, with everything else layered on top. And differing methods of changing things depending on that "things" impact on the organization. Changing the mission obviously requires more inclusive and overwhelming support than deciding who has the authority to negotiate contracts.

So, should a committee be forming, I nominate YOU to be on it.

JC

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:12 pm  Doc Spad

I am delighted to see this discussion taking place.... one note.... From what I understand.. LL ...at least for US members is now required to submit an IRS 1099 (Misc Income) for anyone showing income in SL. I would assume that with the large amounts of $$$$ we raise..whoever has the account in his name will receive this 1099.... Is it fair that he/she get get blasted with this income (and the tax due along with it)... is it fair that they show the donation to a charity and claim the deduction as charitable????

We are entering the real world here...with RL issues... It's about time that this organization starts acting like a REAL non-Profit....applies as such...gets a Non-Profit tax ID number...establishes itself within some jurisdiction...and as such creates a CHARTER that will apply within this framework and legitimize itself. Our current financial and structural controls are insufficient.

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:24 pm  Guest

Doc Spad wrote:I am delighted to see this discussion taking place.... one note.... From what I understand.. LL ...at least for US members is now required to submit an IRS 1099 (Misc Income) for anyone showing income in SL. I would assume that with the large amounts of $$$$ we raise..whoever has the account in his name will receive this 1099.... Is it fair that he/she get get blasted with this income (and the tax due along with it)... is it fair that they show the donation to a charity and claim the deduction as charitable????

We are entering the real world here...with RL issues... It's about time that this organization starts acting like a REAL non-Profit....applies as such...gets a Non-Profit tax ID number...establishes itself within some jurisdiction...and as such creates a CHARTER that will apply within this framework and legitimize itself. Our current financial and structural controls are insufficient.

You've brought up a very good point (and another fantastic reason for a well defined set of Bylaws). Perhaps this should be in a new thread, but, regarding US tax implications, how is this currently addressed? Is the owner of the Second Pride Avatar a US citizen?

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 7:22 pm  Keokipele Ansar

Gordon Nadezda wrote:
Doc Spad wrote:I am delighted to see this discussion taking place.... one note.... From what I understand.. LL ...at least for US members is now required to submit an IRS 1099 (Misc Income) for anyone showing income in SL. I would assume that with the large amounts of $$$$ we raise..whoever has the account in his name will receive this 1099.... Is it fair that he/she get get blasted with this income (and the tax due along with it)... is it fair that they show the donation to a charity and claim the deduction as charitable????

We are entering the real world here...with RL issues... It's about time that this organization starts acting like a REAL non-Profit....applies as such...gets a Non-Profit tax ID number...establishes itself within some jurisdiction...and as such creates a CHARTER that will apply within this framework and legitimize itself. Our current financial and structural controls are insufficient.

You've brought up a very good point (and another fantastic reason for a well defined set of Bylaws). Perhaps this should be in a new thread, but, regarding US tax implications, how is this currently addressed? Is the owner of the Second Pride Avatar a US citizen?
This Committee is in agreement with you both regarding this. Mr. Kiama and myself are currently researching the processes and paperwork involved in both the US and Canada. In the interest of avoiding a huge debate on the merits of doing so or on this Committee even moving forward with the actuality of it, I will repeat that we are just beginning the research. I know for a fact it is not an uncomplicated process in the United States given IRS codes and regulations and it takes a great deal of planning and forethought . . . so just research in the interest of being able to discuss and RECOMMEND possible future action. affraid

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Post on Fri Sep 25, 2009 8:06 pm  Guest

I've been reading this since the beginning and just didn't comment yet. Not because I don't agree, I do.. It would have been better to think of that from the start indeed, which was back in 2007 with the original charter written by the first "important" committee. Since SP exists since 2005 actually, but was much smaller back then and the founders didn't need a charter.

This is just to say I'm 100% for it. As long as it's done the right way to make the changes happen, as I trust Keo will be sure it's done.
For each, every and all matters concerning SP, that's all I'm actually being anal about you could say.. That things are done right and appear diplomatic.
And actually this remark would probably increase the potential for democracy in SP as the charter would be solid while the other policies would be more easily modifiable to suit the will and needs of those who are doing their Term.

I'm exited to see members take more active implication in SP unlike the previous years despite our notices and calls, at the same time thanks to tose who might read this and that did participate as staff or came to meetings last year too, I'm not forgetting some did Wink

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